Our thoughts go out to those who were affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. We saw a rare occurrence of three active hurricanes churning simultaneously in the North Atlantic Basin. Jamaica was spared as Irma coursed through the Caribbean, and thankfully Jamaica gets very few direct hit hurricanes (approximately one every 11 years). But, we know that if Irma had shifted just 200 miles south, it could have been us.
The official hurricane season is June 1st – November 30th, fully half of the year. This period is also known as ‘low season’ because fewer people travel to the Caribbean during this time out of concern that their trip might be disrupted. The seasoned traveler, however, is not intimidated and refuses to forfeit half of the vacation year to the weather.
One thing to note is the likely month that a hurricane might hit the island where you plan to spend your vacation. For Jamaica, peak hurricane season is September/October. Heed these other pieces of advice, and the entire year will be available to you. You will also be able to maneuver quickly if by chance you find yourself in the path of a storm.
1. Remember that a great deal should also be a flexible deal.
Travel during low season will certainly bring the best deals for airline tickets and accommodations. For example, Point of View Villa and Spa is $200 less per night during low season. Nevertheless, look for options that have hassle-free cancellation policies in the event of a hurricane. For example, we are big fans of Southwest Airlines. Of all the airlines that we fly, they have the most flexible cancellation policies. And unlike other airlines, they have no change fees. There are some airlines that now charge a fee to change flights purchased with points or miles. Go figure!
2. Get Travel Insurance.
Many travelers aren’t even aware that travel insurance exists. If you are traveling during hurricane season, it would be to your benefit to make this investment. The cost is minimal, but the protection can be tremendous—up to a full refund for an unused ticket. Make sure that the plan you choose extends coverage in the event of inclement weather. The company that we typically use is Travel Safe.
3. Plan for the best of times and the worst of times.
Although it sounds like a pain, if you decide to travel during low season, remember to make copies of all of your important travel documents, especially your passport. Keep them separate from the originals and store them in a waterproof container. Look for accommodations that have a safe on site.
4. Let your embassy know that you will be in country.
Another idea that may seem inconvenient is registering with your country’s embassy in the country where you will be traveling. Should the weather turn for the worst they can be a resource for updates and evacuation support. The phone number for the US embassy in Jamaica is (876) 702-6450
5. Pack smart—and carry it on with you.
If at all possible, find an appropriate travel bag that allows you maximize space for both sun and storm conditions. Carry it on the plane with you just in case your flight has to divert for some reason. For sun and fun there is the required bathing suits, flip-flops and nightlife gear. For low-season travel, bring extra batteries and a flashlight, or ask your host if they have these items available. #radicalhospitality
6. Choose villas that have generators, shutters and staff that can assist you.
Not all villas are created equal. In other words, if you choose to do a villa vacation (and we hope you do!) look for amenities that demonstrate a capacity to ride out the storm such as generators and storm shutters. Make sure the bar is well stocked too!
Share your own travel tips and resources in the comment box below and travel well!
Point of View Villa and Spa
Do you want to get away? Visit www.pointofviewjamaica.com to book your stay today!